Characters: More or less everyone at the Scranton branch, with mentions of Michael, Jan, and Jim
Spoilers: Up through Diwali
Summary: After what went down in Diwali, the Scranton employees offer their input on that timeless question: Jan or Carol?
Word Count: 1,076
A/N: I have no idea when we're actually supposed to get Oscar back, but I couldn't resist throwing him in. Just 'cause. And this fic more or less operates under the assumption that everyone's as fixated on Michael/Jan as I am. ;-)
“Now, which one’s Jan?” Creed wants to know.
“You mean she just said no in front of all those people?” Roy asks, his face falling slightly. “Poor guy. Um . . . Jan, I guess? Last year when they had their whole thing, Pam had this theory about them – I can’t really remember what she said, exactly. I guess I wasn’t really paying attention.” He scratches his head absently.
“Poor guy,” he says again.
“Oh my God, Jan,” Kelly says, alight with excitement. “Because, okay, Carol’s a total sweetheart and all, and it was sooo cute the way he proposed to her, but Jan and Michael have that whole thing going on where they pretend to hate each other, and that’s so amazing. They’re like Sandra and Hugh in Two Weeks Notice, except Jan dresses way better and Michael’s not all hot and British, but it’s pretty much the same. You know, where he’s all oblivious and she’s all, ‘whatever, no, I hate you’ but she totally loves him? It’s like that.”
“Except maybe Jan actually does hate him,” she concludes, brow furrowing. “It’s kinda hard to tell.”
Meredith picks Jan. With that figure at her age, she deserves to suffer a little.
“You’re telling me he’s got two women?” Darryl asks incredulously when he comes upstairs during his lunch break. He has a little trouble adjusting to the fact.
He winds up choosing Jan. She scares the hell out of Michael. Darryl likes that.
“I don’t know,” Toby says, frowning slightly. “I’m not sure they have the best effect on each other. She told me last year that she’d finally quit smoking, but . . . whenever she comes here, it seems like she winds up going outside for a cigarette. But, um, Carol seems really nice.” He pauses. “I’m not sure I’d wish that on her.”
“I do not care,” Stanley says, and doesn’t look up from his paperwork.
Phyllis likes Carol, but she thinks that Michael and Jan are sweet together.
“It’s like Moonlighting,” she says conspiratorially to the camera, smiling as she leans slightly forward. “The way they argue and drive each other crazy. Sooner or later, I think they’ll figure things out.”
She considers it a moment.
“Our ratings won’t plummet, will they?”
“Jan seems very intelligent,” Oscar says, looking vaguely uncomfortable. “I don’t really know why anyone that smart would subject themselves to – but I guess it has to do with personal taste. I think she’s kissed him more than once, so . . .” He seems at a loss. “Maybe it’s not so bad when you’re a woman.”
Angela doesn’t approve of Jan.
“She’s divorced,” she announces, her mouth set in a thin line. “Who’s to say she won’t just get tired of Michael like she did of her ex-husband? And she impairs Michael’s judgment, which is something that can only negatively affect the rest of us. You’d think that she would show enough concern for this branch not to come waltzing in in those short skirts and strumpet heels. It’s completely unprofessional.”
She stares down the camera for a moment as though challenging it to try defying her.
“Carol should have said yes,” she concludes archly after a moment’s stiff silence. “At least Michael tried to make an honest woman out of her.”
“I . . . really don’t care,” Ryan says awkwardly. “Either way, I think it’s good for him. You know, to have someone to focus on. Who’s not . . . me.”
“This,” Dwight says fiercely, “is Michael’s decision. However, if you ask me?” He brings his fingertips together and locks his stare with the camera. “I don’t think Carol deserves him. I think she looked right into the face of what could have been, and she had to back away. She was weak. Too weak for the glory of what that marriage would have meant. Jan is strong. Also, she has excellent hips, suitable for childbearing, which is a priority in this particular union. She has what it takes to be mistress to a man of Michael’s caliber. Not to mention her high standing within this company. And let’s just say that when one considers how important I am to Michael, well—” He allows himself a triumphant smirk. “I smell a promotion.”
“Jan,” Pam says decisively. “It’s not because I have anything against Carol or anything – she was always really nice – but I think Jan and Michael kind of work together, in a weird way. Like, he drives her nuts, but I think it drives her even more nuts that he wound up with Carol instead of her.” Her expression shifts slightly; becomes a little bit distant. “I don’t really know what was going on that night, because I was sort of . . .” She bites her lip; her gaze falters for a moment. “Well, I kind of had other stuff going on. But maybe she had a chance with him and she didn’t take it, and now she’s regretting it.” She’s quiet for a few seconds; when she looks up, she’s smiling a little too brightly. “And I get that no one probably deserves to be with Michael, but he lights up when she’s around. You can tell he really likes her. And I think that maybe he could get her to be less scary. He can be kind of sweet, when he’s not . . . trying to kiss me.”
She sinks into disgusted silence for a moment before shaking herself out of it.
“Jim’s with me on this,” she announces brightly. “I had to fill him in, after the whole Carol proposal thing, and he says there’s no way Michael could maintain a relationship with somebody that normal.” She laughs. “It turns out he actually talked to Jan for a little while on Casino Night, and he said she seemed really bummed. Like, he couldn’t help thinking that maybe she actually does . . . feel something for Michael. Besides hatred, I mean.” She bites her lip absently. “It’s funny. That seems so long ago.”
She almost seems to forget the camera’s there for a minute. Finally, she looks up, and the look on her face is so casual that it almost seems forced.
“I guess it all depends on whether they ever decide to take that chance.”
“Jan,” Kevin says sagely. “Jan’s hot.”